When it came to musical life during my first few years living in the Tokyo area during the mid-90s, the two big names that come from my memory are Dreams Come True and Tetsuya Komuro（小室哲哉）. As for the latter, the Komuro Family had a big piece of the attention pie for several of those years, and the spearhead was Namie Amuro（安室奈美恵）from Okinawa. The very first time I saw her was on a commercial plugging a Super Monkeys (her old group) single, "Try Me" which was released in early 1995. She was already decked out in the fashion that would attract millions of followers known as Amurers: dyed hair, pencil-thin eyebrows, platform shoes, etc.
I even saw her on an old Fuji-TV kids' show called "Ponkikkis"on weekday mornings as one-half of the Sister Rabbits along with singer/tarento Ran Ran Suzuki. Dressed up in gray rabbit outfits, they sang a variation on "I've Been Working on the Railroad"; would've loved to have found a video on YouTube but alas it's not there.
But it wasn't until close to the end of the year that one of her songs got my attention. It was "Chase the Chance", her 4th single as a solo artist. She was no rabbit anymore. Tetsuya Komuro was behind the song, a warp-speed dance-pop hit with Amuro rapping in the middle. What's not to love? It was the theme song for an NTV drama known as "The Chef" (think of Osamu Tezuka's Blackjack wielding a meat cleaver rather than a scalpel) that I saw in reruns, and when I heard the theme at the end, it was time for me to go CD shopping.
Released in December 1995, it debuted at No.1 on Oricon (her first song to do so) and sold over 1.5 million singles. It would become the 10th-ranking song for 1996 but before that, Amuro was able to make her first appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen on December 31 1995 singing "Chase the Chance". The song also made it onto her album, "Sweet 19 Blues" which was released in July 1996 and became the 2nd-highest selling album of the year, selling almost 4 million copies.
|Namie Amuro -- Chase the Chance|